A friend recently bought a new sailboat and was looking forward to his first major cruise. He had outfitted his new boat with a major upgrade in preparation: GPS autopilot so he could punch in his course and then sit back, drink a little wine, read a book and let the boat do the work. The day of his first major sail came and the weather was perfect. Slight breezes blew which carried him along at a pretty good clip and gave him that slight, classic heel-over for a picture perfect day. The cruise would take about six hours, plenty of time to read, listen to the water and wind, and relax.
As the course neared completion he could see the lighthouse for his port in the distance… again a perfect picture against the sand dunes that surrounded the little town he’d spend the night in. While still three miles out, however, the wind suddenly died, and he came to a standstill. It was not the grand entrance he had envisioned. He had to start the engine and motor in.
How does this relate to sales and converting the public into patients?
It takes a “wholistic” approach to constantly engage the public and keep a dentist’s name in front of them. The multiple “touches” it takes to finally make a community member call your office dictates that we use auto-responders, video clips, the giving away of free reports, etc.
No one has the time to personally follow up
Delivering these things day in and day out should be set up using automation, much like the autopilot on a sailboat. This allows office personnel to do other things and keep the marketing “boat” moving even when the office is closed. It allows you to enjoy the “cruise” and know your sales funnel is constantly being filled with new prospects.
So picture your own prospective patients “cruise” to your final port – the call to your office. If things are working properly they are receiving all sorts of upgrades as you prepare them to make the call. They see your expertise in videos, read testimonials on your website, and probably see a few ads in the newspaper. They are within sight of your lighthouse and perhaps it is just one final push and they are in.
Does the wind die?
Take a look at the major pieces of your marketing puzzle which you hope will finally entice a person to call. How do they look? How are they packaged? How do you send things out? Do they offer a “better than expected” value? The big lighthouses - the "advertising lure" in your marketing efforts - that DVD series, special report or book should be the wind to take your prospect into port. Do they reflect the professional image you want to portray that gives the new patient confidence in your office or abilities? Your advertising "lure" need to say:
1. You are a serious professional when it comes to your practice.
2. You are an expert in that procedure they set sail for in the first place.
3. You actually care about your prospective patients. You image will say it all and you’ll never have to write in an ad, “We care about you!”
If they don’t it will be like you’ve brought prospective patients along on a cruise to your office and then ran out of wind just before they came into port… not the envisioned ending to your efforts. Go through your own shake-down cruise. Go into your website and imagine yourself as a community member looking for a new dentist.
Fill in the capture boxes on your website.
What happens? Do the auto-responders you get portray a professional image with valuable information? Do your “lighthouses” get delivered professionally? If you physically mail out a DVD or book, mail one to yourself. See how it comes back to you. Does it look professional? Does it tell your story? Does it excite you to call yourself? Did it come in a timely manner?
You will indentify where things could look better, be delivered better and messages that need to be strengthened. These are often the places where you want to spend a little extra money, such as on videos in front of green screens, to make your practice stand out. You’ve brought your audience this far in the sales process. Now it’s time to ratchet up your image. Spending a little extra will pay off big time. Considering the life value of that new patient, especially the large case patient, a few extra bucks or a little more effort is well worth it.
The cruise through your sales process is largely automated.
People will get to a point without you even having personally talked to or seen them. But when the lighthouse is in sight – when they are getting ready to make that call – do your collateral materials give them the extra wind to take them into your port?